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Hardcore Windows XP
Hardcore Windows XP

Originally encoded on October 14th, 2021 and published on October 25th

Watch video: Hardcore Windows XP

A Duty Fulfilled

In 2015, I'll bring back Windows 95-98 for 4 yrs

In 2006, I made some "animation" where some people order a copy of Windows 98 from the great garage sale of 1998. In there, I said that in 2015, I would "bring back" Windows 95/98 for four years. I didn't know what I meant at the time, but sure enough in August 2015, I began doing exactly what I said I would do; bring Windows 95 back to the surface. Hardcore Windows 95 made its debut with little expectations, only a task to look at the operating system from very different angles compared to what most people were covering on YouTube.

After finishing Hardcore Windows NT, I looked back at my old video from 2006 and learned that this was no mere spontaneous idea; this was my destiny. No matter the cost, I had to show the world what Windows 9x was truly made of. That which is so frequently scoffed at as a joke and implied that its existence was pointless is, in reality, a miracle in software design that deserves more appreciation.

In 2019, the fourth year, I completed my duties. Hardcore Windows 98 was completed, and I then pushed Windows 95 to new boundaries almost nobody had seen before - near total control of setup automation over PXE, splicing in the ability to display gradient title bars everywhere, and starting work on a dynamic remastering tool in an attempt to give other users the same control I had before then... although that was never finished.

It's 2021 now, and I've done nearly everything I can to envision what an online video about old technology could be. It appears hardly anyone seems to care about the trouble I went through, but nonetheless, I think I've covered 95% of the niches I wanted to work on.

The Return

But had I really done so? By 2019 when I had to disown the one video that was about to hit three million views, I already had plans to return to the subject at some point. It was a given that I would need to eventually confront the constant glorification of a fucking stupid operating system everyone thinks is superior just because they grew up with it much of their life. Hey... I grew up with that thing, too, but at least I'm smart enough to see through its bullshit.

From the beginning, the plan has always been to hit where it hurt most - on the 25th of October 2021, the 20th anniversary of Windows XP. It's a day where thousands of fucking generic and stupid "content creators" who make a career of pacifying idiotic audiences with everything that is convenient for them to hear will gather around to perform a ritual where they chant the song first echoed by Steve Ballsmer.

Tips to grow a loyal fanbase: Play with rituals, memes, catchphrases, and inside jokes...

No, seriously, I'm not joking when I say "ritual", that's actually something YouTube encourages. YouTube wants you to start your own cult... haven't we already seen in a good number of cases just how dangerous that is?

Anyway, the objective with this upcoming video was obvious, but the approach that was to be taken was undecided for around a year and a half. I had thoughts about making it in some standardized commentary form, since that's all that anyone ever really fucking watches anymore (and calls "Wow Great Content Bro !!!"), but by the time I really had to think about it, I coincidentally figured out that video essays are the most fucking bland, inorganic, and overdone format on all of YouTube. But they don't have to be. Today's video editors make it possible to make a video almost exactly the way you'd want it. As much as there are probably some commentary-driven channels out there which are clever enough to grapple me (or maybe I'm just REALLY fucking bored on a given day), most somehow remain clones of each other.

So, basically there was no way I was gonna try making my video in any such format like that. Even for when I have done standard commentary style videos, I'd at least try to make them cool with my editing knowledge and dumping out unused footage, but I could never be proud of doing it that way. If I am to replace a video that everyone considers such a huge deal for whatever fucking reason, I'd have to make something I can truly get behind.

What if I was to return to the old Hardcore Windows format, or, in fact, effectively revive the series for a brief moment? I knew that so many people were wanting to see the series come back, but I viewed it as too constrained for what I would want to do. Even so, it's not like anyone was expecting such a thing to happen again. Not having to worry about expectations anymore meant I could basically do whatever the fuck I wanted with this new Hardcore Windows installment.

One of my gripes with Hardcore Windows is that it was too shallow for me to sit through all the way. The long format seems to have worked for some people, but I haven't completely rewatched some of my Hardcore Windows videos in years. It was more fun recording and editing them than it was watching them. I wanted to make this installment very high energy in its own way, and I had a number of new tricks to pull it off.

Unconventional Sources

One of the things I enjoy doing when I'm creating videos is reusing stuff from unconventional sources. I suppose it's not a new thing at this point; taking assets from video games is popular for a selection of well-known creators, though this is particularly due to the format often not being subject to the same troubles of copyright-hungry technologies like Content ID. You won't get hit unless the author or owner specifically goes after you!

I mean, who doesn't want to have Phoenix Wright music running in the background when discussing a legal case, or some track from Galaga Arrangement when presenting that historic journey to the moon? Wait... so you're telling me the latter never came to your mind? Come on, man!!!

Hardcore Windows XP could've gone any way, as whatever I use in my videos is often what merely happens to be in my mind at any given point. On May 16th, 2021, that thing was the intro to Gradius: The Interstellar Assualt, perhaps the most genius installment in the entire series for its use of scripted sequences that actually tell a story rather than it all being a weird mismash of various zones. Weew, Moai heads!

See, that's the kind of shit I enjoy most, and exactly what I want to have in my top works; I wanted to use this game as a medium for telling about the chaotic nature of Windows XP's glorification and Microsoft's gradual increments in shitting on the consumer now manifesting into a hideous monster. (Everyone in the Underworld disliked that.)

Actually, I had a fairly similar video already up in 2015, called "The True Power of Windows ME", basically poking fun at Windows ME being a "powerhouse" by having it pummel through an underclocked 486 computer. It employs a few of the same techniques I used in Hardcore Windows XP, including a (very brief) rapid sequence of stills timed to some background music. Moreover, the intro may look familiar, as this video served as a beta form of Hardcore Windows. That's right, much of the legacy of my channel stems from an April Fool's joke!!

Watch video: The True Power of Windows ME

By June 9th, I had a draft ready to pass around internally, which can be viewed in the video index now. You can really see quite a few of the differences between here and the final result, but the most critical difference is that back when I first started production, Windows XP was essentially the sole target of this video. I had NO IDEA that Windows 11 was actually going to be a thing, and I'm not sure many other people did, either.

Watch video: Hardcore Windows XP: Draft 1

Nonetheless, it would only be a matter of time before I would find yet more materials to string together with my benchmark I ran on my Pentium II Xeon build. I was going to use the Asus K7M build like in the original, but the RTM version of Setup seems incapable of completing on there, perhaps with the hardware combination I used. Just one indication of the messy launch of this fucking operating system that everyone forgot about in their bliss...

Windows XP installation failed: The parameter is incorrect.

Production Nightmares

I was expecting to get this video finished all done in around one to two months, but the more I worked on it, the more obsessed I became with trying to perfect every corner of it. That's not all, though; to start, I was expecting to hold out on Windows 7 forever. It worked fine, despite the fact that I couldn't get any new updates for it anymore. Trying Linux on the desktop again seemed like it was something I couldn't attain, yet one month after I found out about Windows 11, I was so appalled by how horrible it already was that I knew I would have to make the switch.

Ghugmur being a Linux nerd once again

My first plan was to go with Linux Mint, but then an installation script for Arch was written for me and I've been sticking to that ever since, as detailed here. Linux on the desktop has come a long way, especially for pretty much everything I do, including smaller video projects I made here and there. There was just one issue in particular that I'm sure would make the transition rocky for a lot of people: there's still some Windows software I have to use, mostly Adobe CS6. I couldn't just recreate the project from scratch in a free program at this point.

Rather than going the dual boot route, I settled on running Windows 7 in a virtual machine, but I've gotta say... this operating system really was never meant to be virutalized, was it? The project files for Hardcore Windows XP grew very large, and I've tried everything to get around the virtual machine's habit of inexplicably strangling itself - forcing 3D acceleration, tinkering with CPU core and memory counts, fully migrating to ext4, adjusting swap memory settings, and removing unnecessary virtual devices. None of these things worked, so my only temporary fix was to reboot the host system from time to time. Is it PulseAudio? Maybe; some parts of it break after a while, like line input.

Or, you know, VMware on Linux is just absolute shit. I should start using QEMU more for future installations, but as I do envision I will need to keep using my Adobe software in works outside of my channel for some time, I plan to set up a dedicated Windows 7 machine for running this kind of software.

Having to put up with the severe stalling of this virtual machine makes me wonder how I even managed to pull this all off in the first place. Remember, I switched to Linux in July, and a lot of the later cool stuff I threw in the video came after the switch.

A New Enemy Emerges

Windows 11 showing Razorback and ToastyTech

Isn't it enough that I have to see the entire tech market going to shit due to chip shortages, Bitchcoin miners, touchscreen telephones being required for everything, and some trendy ass microarchitecture YouTubers love shilling for? Now Microsoft comes in and suddenly pushes out a new version of Windows that somehow manages to be even worse than Windows 10. How much do people get paid to plaster a bunch of happy emojis in their fucking comments saying "YAY!!! THANKS YOU MICRO$OFT THIS IS THE BEST COMPUTING EVER!!!"

I didn't even touch the first leaked build of Windows 11. My cronies just posted some screenshots of this new thing displaying my site in Chromium-based Edge, but if anything, there cannot be a worse insult to this realm than to do such a thing. It was already clear that Microsoft had no intentions of actually making a competent operating system anymore, but what else were we in for? Basically Windows 98 all over again. It's been made difficult to change the default browser, Edge APIs are basically fucking neo-ActiveX shit, and... well, if anything, Windows 11 is a poisonous mixture of everything bad about all the previous versions of Windows and yet more.

Blue Horizon wrote a parody review of Windows 11 all the way back in 2018, one which involved a ton of Nesquik, but more importantly, the Secure Boot requirement. Imagine that becoming a real thing, having to use fucking Suckure Boot just to run an operating system! What the fuck does it even do, anyway? TPM is just security theater, Linux does a damn fine job implementing very strong security all around without the need for some chip that's probably still being price gouged to hell on eBay!

I mean, the signs were there, as several tech companies had been talking about dropping CSM outright by 2020. There's no good reason to do that. Classic BIOS is perfectly capable of handling GPT partitions of 3TB in size or larger. Just because something has backwards compatibility spanning 40 years does not mean it's so clunky and outdated; in fact, it's very good to have around for a wide variety of applications.

I haven't even bothered to pay much attention to Windows 11 since doing most of everything here on Linux is easily far superior, but hearing about the first update to the gold release of Windows 11 causing significant performance penalties basically solidifies the disaster that is Windows 11. There's no going back; it is already broken beyond repair. No amount of Bloomberry ice cream Microsoft brags about on Twitter will ever solve this. So what are they going to do for Windows 12, revert to the Windows NT 5.x kernel for a Windows XP nostalgia bait meme?

Part of This Complete Hellscape

But really, Windows 11 seems to be more of a symptom of a larger problem with the direction technology has been taking over the last decade, much as Windows 8 was. It's not just Microsoft; ALL of the tech giants are trying to find new and fucking stupid ways to overcomplicate everything by forcing us to use touchscreen telephones for the most basic tasks. What's the time? Check the phone. How do I log in? Use the phone. What are the operating hours for this mall? Use your phone's camera... the fetishization of technological progress is so rabid that it ends up creating more inconveniences than solving existing primitive problems.

Hideo Kojima with a PowerBook

I say this as a former Mac user: Apple may very well be our largest enemy here. It's hard to say for sure given Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have found their own ways to be evil, but all follow the lead of Apple. Even when that company was at its lowest (and OBJECTIVELY coolest) point in the mid 90's, numerous people were culturally indoctrinated into perceiving it as the trendiest tech company that all must bow to. Why do you think so many computers in movies were Apple products, or displaying mockups of Mac OS?

In 1995, this meant we got Windows 95, easily the greatest Windows version ever made. Windows 95 was a major leap beyond Windows 3.1x and the Macintosh System itself, and if Microsoft just kept sticking to that, there wouldn't be as many problems with that company as there are now. The whole "internet" thing really got to their heads well into the early days of Nashville's development, though, and when Apple finally started to recover, catch up, and reestablish a firm ground again, well, um...

Aqua was a good interface, don't get me wrong here. The first demonstration from 2000 was very impressive not even for its modern visuals, but some of the smaller pestering issues Aqua solved, like loose "Save As" dialogs now being bound to the windows they're for. Mac OS X was understandably controversial when it first launched due to its high system requirements and total incompatibility with classic Mac OS (apart from a virtual machine), but hey, the last incarnation had gone 17 years without any implementation of memory protection, and users and developers were offered tools to transition over to Cocoa-based programs, so I think it was justified... though I'm sure they didn't absolutely have to create a skeumorphic GUI. Better than flatass, but still graphically demanding.

The Kardashians of Technology

Now, Microsoft had it practically made here; they already nearly mastered GUI design with Windows 95, and Windows 2000 brought the complete underlying set of Windows 95's benefits to the NT kernel (DirectX, device management, and what not), and they got their wish of Netscape dying, so I imagine all they would have to do from there is STOP FUCKING INTEGRATING A WEB BROWSER INTO NORMAL PROGRAMS and continue to make incremental improvements, make Windows NT more viable for home usage, and adapt to x86-64 when the time comes!

The Windows XP desktop (toned down to avoid nostalgia baiting)

But I guess Microsoft was always crazy. I later learned that the Luna theme had been in development since early 1999, and trust me, it looked as bad then as it would end up in the final product. The Watercolor theme would've done just fine, but of course that ended up getting scrapped... great, now we're stuck with some kind of glue stick smearing for the title bars. Well, not quite; Windows XP at least provided the option to switch back to the classic theme, but that only applies to window decorations; the Luna icons are still very much intact unless you go and replace every single one of them by hand. And boy, is that not an easy task.

I hated the new Luna theme when Windows XP was first installed on our K7M in late 2002, found myself questioning what the fuck happened to the computer, and why I couldn't run some of my old software. Windows XP didn't entirely destroy backwards compatibility; you could still even run Win16 programs if you wanted to, but your mileage sure as hell was going to vary. I still remember how Windows XP broke compatibility with Lego Studios, a video editing program and filmmaking set that came with a Lego USB webcam. No more singing Peanut Butter and Jelly from Barney (THE MOST eXTREME CHARACTER OF ALL TIME) right up to the microphone, eternal sadness. Or is it Peanut Butter Jelly Time? Who can say...

Other things that stuck out to me which Windows XP broke include the standby function no longer being usable (yeah, I was obsessed with power management functions, don't ask why), and a few other edutainment programs or Humongous softwarez I vaguely recall using before then also stopped working. Compatibility switches performed no miracles. Even more bizarre, opening Notepad would somehow force the computer to switch to 16 color mode.

Windows XP Classic Logon Dialog

When I first figured out how to switch to the classic theme when I was 5 or 6, you can bet your ass I used it real good. I even figured out how to get back a more "classic" Windows 2000-style logon screen through the User Accounts control panel. I thought it was awesome, being able to return to the traditional way of doing things to some degree, but my family was not too pleased by the user buttons going missing, I suppose. I had to change it back, and I was told not to watch the Windows XP tour again because "it teaches you how to mess up the computer".

But, that's a lot more about me showing early signs of wanting to create Windows 95D Lite 17 years later. I had a thing for figuring out stuff on the computer even back then; I ended up teaching my school's library teacher how to use keyboard shortcuts, and ever since then, "Apple-Q" has been the established procedure for quitting programs on the iMacs, and it seems to have spread to other schools nearby. Certainly, it's a bit more concise than clicking File and moving the cursor to Quit.

Anyway, Windows XP was only the start of my problems. The computer was still usable, if not slower (even with an apparent memory upgrade taken into account). Fast forward several years to the release of the iPhone (around the same time I got my MacBook after being fed up with the Pentium 4's bullshit), I once saw it as a very cool little device that could be a perfect companion to a Mac, and something that would be really handy for situations where a laptop could not suffice.

I wanted to believe the touchscreen telephone could coexist with the desktop/laptop computer, but over time as social media really started taking off and the iPhone accumulated millions more users throughout successive iterations, it seemed more and more that this wasn't going to be the case after all. More things became telephone-centric, seemingly for no reason. Worse yet, more people started using their phones exclusively for absolutely everything they could do on a desktop just fine, or rather, better.

Why would anyone prefer to do everything on such a fucking tiny screen with their fatass fingers? That's fucking insane! They're now doing it for a large portion of their days as well, and I've seen this in person back when a bunch of other dumbass kids were living here during the production of Hardcore Windows NT. That's a very narrow world to be gazing into... a vertical display does not line up with binocular eyes. It doesn't even have the right shape for a goldfish with monocular eyes.

Ah, if only BlackBerry survived... the Storm2 was fucking awesome, as it perfected the touch mechanism by having you actually "click" somewhere on the screen to register some important input rather than it being 100% capacitive. That "accidental touch detection" Apple mentioned is full of shit. BlackBerry seemed to care about the desktop too, wanting their phone to be a companion to the PC just like in the good old days of the Palm Pilot.

Dumb fact: the Utopia sound scheme files are present in the Windows XP install CD, but never loaded. I wrote an INF script that does the job; just right click the file, select Install, insert the CD, and see for yourself. That is, if this one works, anyway.

Internet Drug

It's impossible to trace every sinister trait of modern computing, if it can even be called that, to Apple. They mainly just establish the trends of non-replacable batteries, no proper headphone jacks, and notched screens so every little idiot comes sapping it all up. But their little iPhone they insist everyone use provides the ultimate framework for other companies to create far more evil mechanisms which constantly absorb the lives of hundreds of millions of users by the second.

It runs deep... Mark Zuckerberg coaxed my entire junior high school into using his shitty platform to forfeit their privacy, an important thing that was previously stressed to us that we must maintain back in 6th grade. We were told to be wary of the creepy middle-aged sex criminals lurking in the shadows, and the warnings seemed to work back then. Unfortunately, the "coolness" of Facebook won too many students over, and lumping so many people into one meganetwork inevitably strengthened such fucking creeps to take advantage of them on a global scale.

Assemblies presented in school during the social media boom did try to combat the nature of Facebook to some degree, but I don't think it was convincing anyone at that point. In 2011, I conducted a small-scale survey asking which chat platform some people in my classroom used the most; the overwhelming majority chose Facebook. What were the reasons for this? One said "I can talk to all of my friends", another said "it's cool" and started laughing, and two just said "I don't know". ...what do you mean, "you don't know"?

I dreaded every second of Facebook. Nobody was relatable on there, and I was only using it for talking with someone much cooler I met through YouTube. It didn't take me that long to quit, and I was quite pissed off later on when I saw my high school giving in to the hype by adopting a Facebook clone intended for academic usage... we all know it was only ever used for exchanging copypastas.

The internet was supposed to give us more control, but it ended up controlling so many of us. Convenient deflections will come up from time to time like "wow, did you know that you have a shorter attention span than a goldfish? Maybe it's because you use social media on your telephone a lot!" No, the problem isn't inherent in social media; it CAN be done right, it just hasn't for as long as I've known it. If anything, people are paying too much attention to very benign things, like the poorly presented study claiming human attention span is too short, or the key button press that SAVED Object 526 as told by Cool YouTube Dude.


That's that thing, of course, but Facebook itself is at least not trying to directly penetrate the school's cirriculum; only a specialized clone of it is. (Or wait... FACEBOOK IS???) But I don't have any up to date first hand experience with what goes on there. I've been out of school since 2015 and never bothered with college. Grade school was a waste of time and I knew damn well college would be too. And money!

Am I seriously trying to measure which company is more evil than the other? Well, I guess I have to say that Google is more evil, then. I've already mentioned how they bastardized YouTube to such an egregious extent many times that it's not worth making shit for that platform for much longer, but there's a much darker side to them.

Some years back, I came across an article from the Google Cloud blog... just reading that makes me want to puke. Why does everything have to be "cloud"? It's called a VPS, dumbass! The article's called "It's time for real change", and no, I'm not going to link to it for your sake. In such savage vulture-like nature, this article was posted on the day Windows XP went out of support with the intent of selling Chromebooks.

"It's time for real change" is the worst tech article in existence, period. It shows no understanding of why some businesses cannot migrate from Windows XP, or hell, MS-DOS, in such a timely fashion, despite mentioning custom-built programs! (Also, stop calling them apps, call them programs, please) Oh wow, a niche program that gets the job done is holding everyone back, we need to throw everyone onto some costly fucking off-site storage solution that we cannot guarantee the security of!

Exactly how the fuck is a Chromebook supposed to replace something like an industrial or medical application? VMware support? Can't a modern normal desktop or laptop accomplish the same fucking thing? Google is just dragging other gullible corporations into their stupid fad to prolong the Chromebook's lifespan; I imagine the CEO said "cloud" at least 1,000 times during one meeting to inject dopamine into the CEO of Cisco Systems.

"Don't let your business go the way of Tamagotchis and parachute pants"... hey, I'm not sure if you know this, but Tamagotchi is still around and under the same roof. Funny how these people working for Google are demanding that you get with the times, yet they seem oblivious to anything outside of the realm they keep trying to grow.

At least at home, it's pretty easy to avoid the Chromebook and hook yourself up with a much higher quality computing experience; just throw some flavor of Linux onto any conventional computer and you are good to go for a plenty of basic tasks, and you can actually trust the operating system you're running (unless it's Ubuntu). If you're working somewhere, things might not be so easy... or worse yet...

Some people still in high school told me they have to use Chromebooks as an integral part of their work there, and even store their work on Google Drive. If you know how Google operates, you know that means the lives of students are being uploaded to a third party company and they have no way to avoid it. Sheesh... I really got out at the right time, because I couldn't fathom going through that. What's wrong with setting up a WAN across a district and giving each student 100MB of network storage?

Doing things the Google way for something like education is not okay. Of course we all had to conduct Google searches even back in the mid 2000's, but this is just some other level of evil. I hope you remember that Google got sued by the FTC a few years ago for their large-scale data mining of children's activities on YouTube... I don't think that changed anything; Google's still very likely doing it through those Chromebooks that I fear 3rd graders are using these days.

But isn't it quite something how Microsoft would turn out to adopt the exact same sort of model as Google, always watching everything you do? They sure appear to have no shame in knowing that they're tracking the activities of children who inevitably have to use these kinds of computers, even well after the fact that the FTC's lawsuit against Google showed that such tracking of that demographic is very illegal.

Watch video: First Official Windows 10 Commercial Ad: Introducing Windows 10 (YouTube)

Some of the earliest Windows 10 commercials are incredibly disturbing. We're at a point now where kids are growing up having no idea what life is like without constant telemetry or why privacy matters. They've only experienced Windows 10, 8, or 7 at the absolute earliest, and have been trained to accept it as normal that their computers somehow have to remain unusable for 6 hours to install some pointless update that breaks everything, and that each successive release offers less freedom than the last.

This new generation seriously does not get it. They're so vulnerable to Microsoft's manipulation that once a new version comes out that finally "brings back" the startup sound in the form of something bland, thoughtless, and downright disgusting, these kinds of people will end up calling it "nostalgic" without stopping to question themselves. Is this really the kind of shit that everyone's going to look back at in 10 years and say "wow, I miss those times"? Getting frequent black screens of death while trying to stream gameplay footage from a console? Fuck off!

Spiritual Erosion

I've recently started working with someone again, and not long ago I was talking with him in a voice call about a number of things as I held a private screening of Hardcore Windows XP. There were a lot of ideas thrown onto the table, but also many complaints about how things went so wrong over the last decade.

There used to be a time where fun and spontaneous video projects were respected. All you needed was a MiniDV camcorder and a good enough tripod, and you were all primed up, ready to come up with some cool new thing for people to watch. Dirt bike jumps? Hah, neat! Homemade live action Mario and Luigi? Wow, that sounds like a lot of fun! Interview with a ninja? Oh hell yeah! You could find practically anything with relative ease.

As more people started jumping onto YouTube, though, the whole platform started to turn into something very sterilized. We started getting more of the same, just a bunch of recycled content, quickly produced douchebag gaming videos, and now fucking pretentious video essays.

My inside collaborator brought up something about how this standardization of YouTube videos broke the spirits of so many viewers and creators, in which they now passively accept that they must watch what a robot tells them to. Video creators are ordered to comply with the standardized practices of video creation as established by the Creator Acedemy, and must throw in a bunch of preset VHS glitch effects and chillbeatsz streamsz music.

He mentioned that back in Windows XP's hayday, people who made stuff for the internet understood why they were doing it; it wasn't driven by money, it was just about showing off what they can do, and getting feedback from it. That practice of getting up and making something for all to see for free had to be inspiring for an entire generation, but the severe detractions imposed by YouTube's robots seems to have shattered a lot of that inspiration, forcing people to take quantitative approaches to video creation.

So when I suppose my original video fell way out of line with the norm, that pissed off so many people for whatever fucking reason. Every day, I had to read stupid comments from self-entitled pricks who had never seen a weird video in their lives. There was a severe disparity between the way I made videos and the way most others did it; people expect video creators to "be themselves", as in showing their face and exact personality as-is without any exaggeration or fucking around - but often it really means you have to mask yourself just to appease the crowd. But this was back in 2016, the absolute last year creative freedom was ever valued by YouTube in any way.

I had to disown the video because of how fucking tedious it was getting to put up with the bullshit of a broken generation, and I didn't want YouTube's robots to keep recommending some dumb thing I made back then. No fucking way, dude. This is not what what should be rewarded. What I want the most people to see is the stuff I work the hardest on. Maybe that's why I've been such a perfectionist with this replacement.


After seeing pretty much everything there is on YouTube anymore, I really wanted to go against every single expectation that's been force-fed. I knew there was gonna be a ton of vomit-inducing propaganda about how "amazing" Windows XP supposedly was, but the majority of it is all fabricated, just people saying what everyone wants to hear as usual. I have nothing to lose at this point, gonna be checking out from YouTube soon enough, so why should I do the same here? This time around, I wasn't gonna hold anything back. Not only was I going to rightfully thrash down Windows XP, I was also going to create an atmosphere of the exact opposite that everyone eats up.

Directly influenced by the style of my collaborator, my video would be highly energized all the way through. I'm not here to pacify and induce sleep, I want people to see everything in a new light, and realize they can be doing much more with what they've got with hardware and software, new and old. In all the time I've been rewatching the drafts and the final version of this video, they've never failed to give me some powerful adrenaline rushes, making me see again what tech videos can be. Quite a twist to see such a video I wanted nothing to do with transformed into perhaps the coolest fucking thing I've done yet.

I don't know how most people learn how to make videos, do they just follow tutorials? I never bothered with that, save for small tasks like blurring out stuff and getting started with After Effects expressions. When I acquired Adobe CS6 back in 2013, I was looking to record live action skits again, but with such new powerful tools in my hands, naturally the first thing I did was pure experimentation using whatever I could find, just creating weird videos on multiple channels.

A lot of this experimentation converged into my computer videos, to which it would then evolve and become more exact. Some of my favorite techniques in video editing include timing clips to parts of a music track by adding markers to that track and simply mashing obscure sources together, and I very much enjoyed putting these techniques to real good use here. Apart from, say, a couple tracks in Super Mario World, Kirby Super Star, and the entire Undertale soundtrack, there is a lot of unused potential in the reusage of video game music.


Windows XP Bliss Wallpaper: No You Can't.

It's about damn time you started seeing this complete shitfuck of an operating system for what it is. Windows XP is easily one of the worst operating systems ever made, for one simple reason: it was the moment Microsoft started going all out on stupid, pointless gimmicks trying to pander to the home user above all else. When they try doing that, it never works.

Anyone who has a shred of understanding of how large organizations are driven by modern computers should know that they are some of Microsoft's most important customers. The ones in charge of acquiring, installing, and administrating the computers for employees to use could not give a FUCK about how fancy ass some new default desktop theme is, or what kinds of multimedia programs it comes with. They just want to be assured that the software they need will continue to function as intended, or if they need to migrate, they must be certain that the replacement software will match or exceed everything they had been doing previously with their last solution.

It doesn't help Windows XP's case that another, more competent operating system had already been around for close to two years upon its release. It's a little something called Windows 2000... yeah, that one operating system Microsoft took very seriously, and developed specifically to improve the quality of life for all sizes of organizations, equip them for the rapidly growing internet, and provide a compelling alternative to Unix-based setups. The development of Windows 2000 is well documented in a series of reviews on the Blue OS Museum, but I suppose this promotional video entitled "Windows NT 5.0: The Daily Cycle" should tell you everything about what this operating system was:

Watch video: The Daily Cycle of Windows NT 5.0 (Blue OS Museum)

"Even if the development team fixes every bug our testers find, we won't ship Windows NT 5 until customers say it's ready." That quote right there perfectly illustrates the difference between Microsoft in the 90's and now. Of course Microsoft has always been terrible in a multitude of ways, ruthlessly sniping out the competition with unethical tactics, and nobody can forget the Blue Screen of Death that symbolized the noterity of Windows crashing quite a bit too much. Before they started slowly losing their minds in the development of Internet Explorer 4, though, Microsoft actually cared about the integrity of the products they shipped... sometimes.

If Microsoft applied an enterprise-first mentality to all their operating systems after Windows 2000, nobody would really need to give a shit about a new version of Windows having slightly higher system requirements, or a look and feel being so outdated. As I mentioned earlier, they pretty much already had it made at that point. On top of that, Windows 2000 was well equipped for gaming compared to NT 4.0, so in whatever new version of Windows that Microsoft could've put out in any other timeline, Crysis would've still been made for it, and it would've worked just as well.

I sure was happy with Windows 2000 when I dual booted that thing on one of my laptops in 2006; it ran most of the software I wanted to use without any trouble, including those that got me big into watching homemade videos online. If we just used Windows 2000 from the very beginning of that K7M build's usage and stuck with it the whole way through, I wouldn't have had any complaints, but maybe I also wouldn't have been as big into old Windows versions as I am now.

But no, right as Microsoft was starting to get pretty good again, they immediately threw out all that integrity in the name of selling to the home consumer first and treating them like an idiot. Artificial market segmentation is now in full swing, and the biggest concern of all is developing a theme that can only look good if you get a new graphics card and crank up the color depth to 32-bit! If you look at an early Luna build, you oughta notice that the theme looks even worse there; the way the taskbar looks would convince you you're drunk.

All this after Microsoft scrapped the Watercolor theme, which looked all fine. Yeah, once you look into the development of Whistler, you'll pretty much know that Windows XP was destined to be a fucking stupid operating system. Microsoft would never recover from this new mindset, as they ramped up the concept of a heavyweight GUI to the extreme with Windows Vista... but then, of course, people actually started complaining, in spite of all the legitimate technical improvements that came with Vista. Nobody really did appreciate it when they still could, because it would be the very last time Microsoft would ever create a major advancement to Windows.

Everything after Windows Vista has been nothing more than a glorified rebadging of such. I say this as someone who used Windows 7 all the way to the bitter end, even going as far as to get it working on my X570 board: the Windows NT kernel has hardly made any real progress at all in the last 15 years. Did it have to? I don't know at this point, because I'm sure they will easily fuck everything up if they decide to make a true Windows NT 7.x operating system, but the fact that they stopped giving a shit about creating major advancements in the kernel due to the Vista shock seems to explain why every single new iteration of Windows has been completely pointless.

I've noticed that Windows 7 has been a stubborn pain in the ass in a number of small, yet quite important fields, especially in later years. One of the first things that comes to my mind is the native image viewer; it turned out to be a severe regression from Windows XP, and perhaps Vista as well. Here, I could no longer play animated GIFs, and at some point (I don't remember when), an error dialog "COM Surrogate has stopped working" started popping up if I closed the image viewer and then reopened it too quickly! And in some cases, simply trying to load thumbnails would make some program crash over and over again.

Also, fucking libraries. What was the point of that feature? To add multiple directories to organize your documents, pictures, music, and videos in very simple centralized locations? In practice, that extra layer of abstraction ended up fucking with some programs I used, making it all more complicated to save a file to the directory where I'd naturally keep most of my pictures. I think no programmer ever understood this feature or how to adapt to it, so in the end we've been left with severe inconsistencies over what the Pictures folder is called. Is it Pictures, or MY Pictures?

Dammit, isn't it enough that the user profile directories have already been shuffled around so many times prior to Windows 7? In Windows NT 4.0 and earlier, they were stashed away in the WINNT\Profiles directory, then they got moved over to the root under the obtusely elaborate name Documents and Settings in Windows 2000 and XP, and then that got renamed to Users in Windows Vista. Now we have libraries to deal with as well... so this is the Windows 7 that everyone hailed as our savior from Vista? Yeah, see you in my 30's when more careerist YouTubers spring up to write more dragged out video essays about "WHY WINDOWS 7 WAS THE GREATEST WINDOWS VERSION OF ALL TIME"!

Thunar file manager in XFCE

And here I was convincing myself that Linux might not have a real shot at winning the hearts of casual desktop users... BULLSHIT. Linux is actually much easier than Windows at this point, thanks to the hard work of many FOSS developers creating desktop environments that easily surpass both Windows and Mac OS. For one, I already got back so much that I was missing in Windows 7 and gained yet more, like being able to customize every keyboard shortcut to my exact liking. Installing and updating popular programs is also very easy for anything residing in the repositories; it only takes a single terminal command or ticking some boxes in a GUI-based package catalog, and some distros even have their own full-fledged interpretation of a software center similar to the "stores" for Apple and Android devices. Hell, they pioneered that concept!

I had been extensively learning how to use Linux and other Unix variants since 2009, and even dual booted SuSE 10.0 as early as the tail end of 2005. In the time I've been learning how to use Bash, I knew deep down I always liked the Unix/Linux experience much better than Windows, so much so that I was significantly displeased to see that all the computers at my junior high school were still running Windows XP when I got there.

Even then, I was effectively forced to return to Windows XP back at home when I found that some of the software I wanted to use couldn't run on Linux, and I couldn't exactly count on WINE to take care of the job. By then, I had a Core 2 Quad rig I built myself, and noticed that Windows XP actually became tolerable with this superpowered computer, but I still used the classic theme and leftover Windows 98 sounds for sure. Luna was still ugly as ever. Goodbye, magical Bash scripting, until we meet again.

More specifically, what got in the way of me using Linux full time back then were only a few things: the narrow selection of games I played being incompatible, the hassles I had using YouTube and other Flash-based websites, and the high-grade editing software I relied on for many years. Over the course of the last decade, all of these things had significantly improved, but if I was to run with making videos as well as I could, I needed to use Adobe Creative Suite 6. That may have been the sole factor in what kept me on Windows 7 for so long, really, apart from when I was using a MiniDV camcorder with FireWire and a VGA capture card that didn't work under Linux... both which were replaced with an XAVC camcorder and an AV.io HD, respectively. Being sunk into this operating system for that long made me subconsciously accept that this was the most optimal path for desktop computing, unaware of how heavily I've been restrained the whole time.

That Windows 11 announcement was a real wake-up call... right there and then, I knew for certain all of Windows was only going to get worse with age, even that which was working perfectly fine. I was in dire need of an answer, and when I got that Arch installation script written for me, oh man... it was the greatest liberation I ever experienced in computing. Linking up that Linux command line experience I subtly craved with XFCE and the Chicago95 theme is as close to perfection that software has ever gotten.

In the event it's necessary, of course, I will have to build a dedicated offline Windows 7 machine for continuing to run Adobe software, but look what we've got now. Olive Video Editor still needs a lot of work, but I fucking love it. This program will be better than Premiere when it finalizes. All of Bigeye was edited with version 0.1, and given I was able to pull off some visually impressive stunts in the intro alone, I can safely say it is the future of video editing for the independent filmmaker.

Although some of my friends still have to go back to using Windows to run some games and other programs due to performance issues and whatever else, I, for one, can absolutely say that I will not go back to maining Windows ever again. For me, it is now to be treated as a "when it's needed" type of program, and whatever else there is to do ought to be tried in Linux first. You should definitely try using Linux every day when you get the opportunity, as it'll make you feel like you own your computer again.

Even my dad, who constantly asked me so many questions to simple tech problems like saving documents, loved using Linux Mint back in 2012 when I installed it on his computer in place of Windows XP. The only issues he ran into were running some very specific programs and exchanging documents with those so dependent on Microsoft Office, so we did have to put Windows 7 on there eventually... but you may not have to end up with that same outcome. The more individuals and organizations that adopt Linux for desktop computing, the sooner we can finally make the desktop computer a pleasant experience on a larger scale once again, going far beyond the reaches of Windows 95! In many projects built on top of Linux, every programmer can contribute in some way, so your needs are bound to get addressed at some point in the future if they aren't already!

Just to remind you, though, there are always gonna be those sad fuckers who will go on Twitter saying Windows 11 is the best thing ever, only to gain nothing in return.

Idiots Who Only Care About One Thing

Countless copy/pastes of windows xp is the best in a YouTube comment... no, seriously

I first scheduled Hardcore Windows XP for a premiere on October 14th. For a good while, the reception was actually pretty fucking funny, particularly from this one guy who jokingly calls the reupload of the part where he looks at a brick (funny camera shaking) a revolutionary moment to document in the history books, and the complaints I got for inquiring about Halloween activities. We pretty much knew the video was stupid, but do note that this was back when most everyone thought I was actually going to reupload that fucking thing. Come three days before the premiere, YouTube must've sent more notifications about the upcoming video, and it didn't take long for me to feel some kind of sickness I hadn't felt for the last two years...

Two very pretty monitors displaying dusk clouds and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 logon dialogs

Ever since the original video blew up in popularity so much, I've been using a large chunk of my strength trying to make so many different videos that were much better, videos I actually believed in and wanted to see succeed, like Arowana, Bigeye, The 32-Bit Difference, anything I could throw in Hardcore Windows 98, and even weird shit like a bitcrushed squid documenting his computing adventures, a mini-Hardcore Windows for Workgroups 3.11 series ordered by Grey Fish, and a skit where Student #137 gets in trouble for playing Quake II at school.

Two very pretty monitors displaying dusk clouds and Windows for Workgroups 3.11 logon dialogs

Countless hours, days, weeks, even MONTHS were poured into all of these projects combined, each trying to stand on its own merits and give people something they had no idea they wanted to see. Hardly anyone ever came up to take a look at these passionate crafts of mine, yet as soon as I pitched this video "Hardcore Windows XP" as a reupload of the original, SUDDENLY so many people I've never even seen before just came out of nowhere like "HOLY SHIT AFWHUAERGFOEWTGI ITS A BACK !!!!!!!!!!!" and the video shot up by 100 likes in less than a day, even though it hadn't even premiered at that point.

That's just fucking sickening... to think there's a "fanbase" that refuses to watch any of my other works I've put so much of my heart into, yet will constantly beg and beg for me to reupload some shitty throwaway video or make another one of those god damn videos of a fish whacking a keyboard. I don't make these videos for money; never have. Why should YOU think you get to take charge of what I make? Do you know what I've had to go through for the last few years, reading your mindless drivel and having all of my other efforts end up being completely forgotten in the process?

They just don't fucking get it, and they never will. It's much like trying to convey to a goldfish that there's a new game in his tank to play, but they just keep going to the same corner... oh wait... yeah, maybe the goldfish attention span thing was right, it's just that it turns out goldfish have a much longer attention span than you ever will - something like 15 hours, or days, at least. Their superior intelligence will rule all one day.

Either way, I plan to make one more video after this, one which will be the epilogue to the Hardcore Windows series and my channel as a whole... that being Project Sunfish. I doubt that anyone that came for "Hardcore Windows XP" will be there for this, but I've only gotta connect a high quality active terminator to my channel at this point. See you when it comes up.

Music Used

  • Prologue, A Chase, The Ruins, Toadstool (Gradius: The Interstellar Assault/Nemesis II: The Return of the Hero, 1991)
  • Bloodlines (Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, 1993)
  • Fossil, Waste Land, Ultima (Dragon Saber, 1990)
  • Objects & Forest, Godlike Sea, Mountainrange, Underground Building, Split Core, Beautiful Space (Xevious Arrangement, 1995)
  • Asteroid Belt (Galaga Arrangement, 1995)
  • Track 10 (The Next Tetris, 1999)
  • World 4 Theme (Trip World, 1992) (4:3 version only for cool website creators)
  • G-Zero (G-Darius, 1997)

Are You Guys Going Trick Or Treating

Addendum: XPTV is the worst advertisement I have ever seen. No surprise considering it's Windows XP crapassery.